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Eco Facts

Polythene Carrier Bags

Regular Polythene

Regular Polythene is 100% recyclable. There are currently two main options for recycling these bags, one is to use the old bags to produce new bags and the second is to use the old bags to create other products such as pens, floor tiles, bin sacks and even outdoor furniture. Research is also being carried out to use plastics, including polythene bags, and turn them back into oil that can be used as a resource to power shipping.

To reuse the bags as often as possible before recycling is another positive aspect of these products; as opposed to other packaging that really is only single use.

Most supermarkets have a collection point for polythene bags and will ensure they are recycled. Many councils are now actively recycling polythene bags but you do need to check.

Polythene bags are used as the ‘symbol’ of a single use plastic product. The irony is that it is one of the few reusable types of plastic packaging and if properly disposed of and collected by industry or councils, can be successfully recycled. The issues tend to be created by the way in which some people carelessly dispose of them and in those countries where they have no infrastructure to collect any rubbish responsibly. In the UK, it is also very mixed as to which councils will recycle and tends to be left to the consumer and industry.

You can include the recyclable logo and text in your design or we can put this information in the gusset for you, on request. Please ask your sales contact to send you the details and relevant logo.

There is also research being carried out to use plastics, including polythene bags to turn back into oil that can be used to power shipping.

Degradable Polythene

Degradable Polythene is possible because of an additive that is mixed with the master batch during production that degrades the polythene. This can have several names, but they work in the same way. The additive firstly starts to degrade the polythene under the influence of heat and light; technically the process starts in the factory.
Due to the bags being stored in a dark box, and usually in colder storerooms, the process only continues in landfill i.e. in the soil. Once the polythene has been exposed to UV light, the degradation reaction is accelerated by heat in the soil. This breaks the polythene down transforming it into a fine powder and then biological degradation takes place. The end products of bio-degradation will be carbon dioxide and water, with a very small residue of non-toxic inert mineral material.

If the bags are not stored in an unusually “heated” stock room they should be ‘pristine’ for around three years. After this time there may be some discolouration of the bag. Once the bag is in landfill it will take somewhere between 18 and 24 months to degrade depending upon factors such as the heat, thickness of film etc

You can include the biodegradable logo and text in your design or we can put this information in the gusset for you, on request. Please ask your sales contact to send you then details and relevant logo.

Green PE (sugar cane)

Green PE is CO2 negative, renewable, recyclable and sustainable. It is made from sugar cane and it’s the process of photosynthesis as the plant grows that makes this product carbon positive. As thesugar cane plant grows it captures and fixes CO2 from the atmosphere during its production and reduces greenhouse gas emission.

Green PE is as an alternative to regular fossil based polythene, offering the opportunity to improve your green credentials by using a material that is renewable, recyclable and sustainable without compromising on performance.

We can offer GreenPE on the majority of styles and quantities, please specify this with your enquiry. If you opt for this material please ask for the logo and strap-line if you would like to include this in your design. Alternatively we can print this information in the gusset, on request.

Environmental benefits of GreenPE

  • Each ton of GreenPE Polyethylene produced captures and sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • GreenPE is produced from Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, a renewable source. Braskem’s ethanol suppliers must meet the principles of sustainable development present in the “Code of Conduct for Ethanol Suppliers.” Brazilian ethanol has characteristics that confer advantage when compared to other options of renewable raw materials.
  • GreenPE is recyclable in the same chain used for recycling traditional polyethylene from fossil source. GreenPE is not biodegradable, so the CO2 captured by the product remains fixed throughout the life cycle of the plastic.
  • GreenPE has the same technical properties, appearance and versatility of applications of polyethylene from fossil source. The replacement of fossil source polyethylene for GreenPE does not require investment in new machines in plastics converters.

Paper Carrier Bags

FSC Certified Paper

FSC certified paper is typically composed of virgin tree fibers but it can be just as eco-friendly as recycled paper. ‘FSC’ stands for Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organisation that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide.

We can supply FSC paper on most styles but please specify if you would like this, at the time of enquiry. It will usually cost a little extra to non FSC. If you use FSC paper, this will enable you to put this on the bag so please ask us for the certification and you can include it in your artwork.

It is important to note that all the European factories we use buy from Europe and use sustainable sources. For smaller factories the process of going through certification can be expensive but it does not mean they are any less eco friendly. The only Chinese partner we use is FSC certified. We do deem this as crucial as for some factories in China and other parts of Asia, we have no idea where the paper comes from and are concerned they will likely be using non sustainable wood pulp; which is reflected in the pricing.

Recycled Paper

Paper can generally be recycled between four and seven times. After that the fibres become too short and weak and the quality degrades too much to use. Recycled paper can be more in cost than virgin paper; due to the processes involved to recycle and due to the high demand. Generally recycled paper is thought to be more environmentally friendly than virgin paper but there simply isn’t enough and this will likely intensify with an increased migration from plastics to paper based products.

We can offer recycled paper on most styles of bag but we ask you to specify at the time of enquiry. Some styles have higher minimum quantities.


The majority of papers can be recycled in your weekly recycle bin collection and commercially, provided they are not laminated. It is estimated that between 60-80% of all paper is recycled; making it one of the ‘eco’ success stories. You can use the recycle logo on your paper bag and include it in your artwork.